The Lost Art of Project Management

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The Lost Art of Project Management
September 27, 2019

Project Management: Doing it The Right Way

If you’ve seen Project Management executed the right way, you know what a remarkable experience it is. Being part of a well-managed project from start to finish—accomplishing unbelievable results as a unified team, effectively hitting one milestone after another—few things in your career will provide you with such pride and accomplishment.

If you are an IT professional, you undoubtedly engage in projects from time to time.  The more projects you see during your career, the greater your ability to distinguish between well managed versus poorly managed projects.  Is there an art to Project Management? What are the signs of a well-managed project?  What can hospitals do to improve their project efficiency?

Is Project Management an Art?

Being a skilled Project Manager requires certain soft skills—not just the skills of project management.  It requires the ability to read people, handle changes without drama, motivate others, know when to be firm, know when to call in help, see the bigger picture while focusing on the important details…each of these is a common characteristic held by a great Project Manager.  Many of these can’t be learned in books or through lectures, but are garnered through hands-on experience navigating many projects over the course of a career.

I’ve always said that great Project Management is a “lost art.”  I say that because we encounter so many PMs that are hardworking and well-intentioned, but frankly, they often don’t have what it takes to execute the project correctly.  They may have the knowledge, but they lack the “artistry” required to be remarkable at the trade.  There are lots of things we may want to do in life, but we don’t all possess the soft skills to excel in every arena.

Having the education and the tools necessary to be a good Project Manager is important.  But knowing how and when to use them – THAT is the art!

Characteristics of a Well-Managed Project

There are some noticeable signs when a project is being managed well. Here are a few that you would expect to recognize from an experienced, successful Project Manager:

  1. >The scope of work is clearly defined and the team knows their role
  2. >The Project Manager is visible, serving as the central hub of information
  3. >A project plan is being followed with forecasted deliverables
  4. >Issues are being tracked and monitored
  5. >Phases are completed on time
  6. >There is clear communication throughout the team
  7. >No issues are permitted to linger until they become a crisis
  8. >Project documents are simple to read and easily accessible

Develop Successful Project Management

Hospitals are drowning in projects, and most have failed to hire the right PMs nor have standardized PM processes to follow.

For starters, each hospital should determine 10-20 basic steps to be followed for each project. For example, insist that a scope, team structure, issue tracking system, and a plan must be developed for every project.  Use the same format/style from project to project.  Draft the process/methods that your PMs should use, such as meeting styles and frequency, manner of forecasting, and methods of communicating with the vendor.  Once your PM process is working, implement a mentorship program for all new PMs to be mentored by PMs that can teach successful methods internally.

Atlanticon’s Project Management Services

Atlanticon has been helping hospitals manage projects since 2000.  We offer a number of PM services that are capable of helping any organization. Here are some examples of the high-level PM consulting we offer on a regular basis:

  • PRN Project Management—you retain our services on an as-needed basis to guide your PM through strategy and execution.
  • Project Oversight—a senior level service of visiting your facility monthly to work with your PM and oversee the project, alerting your leadership of potential, critical situations.
  • Project Evaluation—a rapid approach that takes 3-5 days on-site, evaluating your current project to determine strengths and risks, providing our findings to your senior team at the end of the visit.
  • Standard Project Management Engagement—where we provide one of our PMs to take charge of your project and lead your team, applying our methods and utilizing your strengths to achieve success.
  • Project Coaching—a service that helps your facility implement an overall PM structure. It begins with IT Governance and using common methods and processes provided by us.

These methods are to be used for every project. We provide a repeatable process for you and your team. The outcome of this 8-hour training session is a PM Guidebook with many tools, including a mechanism for your Director or CIO to easily keep an eye on the status of all projects. We also offer a modified “Project Setup” service that prepares your team for a single, large project. Project Setup is the most important phase of a project, and greatly increases your chance for success.

All Atlanticon services are founded and tested as a result of numerous successful projects over the last two decades. Our methods are designed to work in the real world. Please reach out to us with your comments or concerns regarding your project management at Business.Services@Atlanticon.net.

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